The reliability of the Internet related and computer-based documents in judicial systems (Comparing to Iranian system and others)
Seemingly, digital evidence exploitation is a relatively new tool to investigate in criminal cases. Law enforcement relies extensively on digital evidence for important information about both victims and suspects. The Internet comes at the first as well as portable devices. Modern devices have played as huge repositories of personal information carried in a pocket and accessed with a single hand or even voice command. They have a clear benefit to having ample information to obtain convictions, but law enforcement and other criminal justice partners need to balance the recovery and admissibility of digital evidence with privacy concerns. It seems the reliability of the Internet related and computer-based documents including SMS, mails, social networks like WhatsApp, in judicial systems is increasingly acceptable.
The Internet and online databases
The role of the Internet cannot be ignored as the first digital evidence used in law enforcement investigations extracted from communication websites, particularly message boards and chat rooms allowing users to read and respond to chains of communication either as an archive or in real time. While there are a number of legal challenges in using these sources, the technology of the Internet is still functioning principally in judicial procedures yet. In addition, the locations and addresses of sites are not always public knowledge, meaning that initial intelligence work or online searching may be required to find the sites. File-sharing networks are another major source used during investigations. These networks also connect users to transfer data files, such as pictures and videos. It is worth mentioning that in spite of such a necessity, some lawyers believe that amending process pushes judicial bodies to prioritize the online-based documents. It is noted that the numerous major file-sharing networks have been shut down or revamped following law enforcement investigations and legal actions. Either copyright violations or the exchange of other illegal materials have been noted as relevant cases emphasizing such a perspective. Therefore, users or suspected persons can be tracked, and downloaded files can often be linked to specific IP addresses. Of course, in child pornography investigations, for example, the content of the transfers can also be relevant to a criminal case. Conversely, some Internet technologies have been designed specifically to enable hiding the identity or location of individuals. It comes as a serious problem to discover what story was going on. Some major illegal activities have misused the sites featured a wide market of illicit drugs, for example. Hence, this dimension has been shut down by law enforcement in recent years. Generally, the databases extracted from the Internet can be acceptable and reliable more in all enforced procedures in all legal systems, while the Internet has been exploited by criminals to commit crimes or either hide or remove their signs assisting investigators to reach the real story which already happened.
Other portable devices
Currently, portable electronics such as cell phones has been raised as a primary source capturing the attention of examiners and researchers. There is no surprise that cell phones have been put on the zenith accepted as a dominant interest within the field of digital evidence. Potentially, personal information has been stored more than any prior combination of electronic and physical sources, especially during the 21th century. By a simple surf on the Google, the U.S. Supreme Court recently for a warrant order ruled that it was required for most searches of cell phones at a scene. This procedure is accepted vastly by other courts in common law system like Canada and Australia. The opposite view point has been observed in Iranian System that can refuse such a necessity. It is generally accepted that cell phones are “microcomputers” serving a large number of critical uses for people. But the question is why the law enforcement must search the information of cell phones at a scene unlike a piece of paper or other portable items.
Therefore, cell phones contain diaries or personal information as well. Additionally, they have standard features allowing for photography, GPS location, and text messaging distinct from email or other documents. These features often have a contact list, log of calls made and received, and call duration which can assist all players in a case to discover the truth. Portable devices as well as the technology of the Internet can function equally to reach a perfect decision issued after hearing the defense of accused and plaintiff.
Moving forward, issues relating to cloud-based information like iCloud in Apple cell phones and other legal challenges concerning the proper scope for searching portable electronic “microcomputers” will shape the future of digital evidence processing. The collection and analysis of digital evidence has been presented increasingly as an important tool for solving crimes and preparing court cases. Legally, it is obvious that the role of law is not supposed to be ended by just issuing an arrest order or clearance notification. Because police gives evidence obligatory to prosecutors and effectively communicates about the process of obtaining digital evidence and its significance to all parties, including a jury. It is the exclusionary rule that the lawyers are eligible to focus on any convincing digital evidence as a part of the court case, when the device was not already seized or searched illegally. Whereas in some countries like Iran, it is not important as much as mentioned above. But mutual understanding and shared expectations accepted vastly in common law system lead to the point that the achievement of justice and the increase of precise perceptions of legitimacy for a criminal justice system are necessary to observe a just result of a trial.
The exploitation and analysis of suspects’ hardware devices, such as computers, cell phones, GPS devices, or credit card fraud devices, collection and analysis of information related to crime or suspects in other IT systems, such as social media, cloud storage systems, or private CCTV installations are supposed to discover the criminal story and allowed by the courts. Iran is not an exception in using these methods like other just criminal regimes. Search and analysis of websites, including child pornography and human-trafficking sites, chat rooms, bulletin boards, or file-sharing networks are included officially, if the prosecutors or police officers can approve the necessity and effectiveness of access to them and excuse acceptably about how they are effective and helpful to solve the criminal dilemma challenging social order and law enforcement.
21 Aug 2020